• 13Rhiconich to Sandwood Bay

    • Last updated:
    • Difficulty: medium
    • Distance: 16.2KM
    • Climb: 348.8M

    The splendour of Sandwood Bay, one of Scotland's finest beaches, is your reward for a tough slog across rough, wild country. (average walk: 1 day)

    View the route on Ordnance Survey
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    With most legs of the trail, it is fairly easy to recommend the main route. But with this leg there is little to choose between the main route and the alternative.

    Follow the B801 north from Rhiconich along the shore of Loch Inchard. It's not a busy road, but the locals have a tendency to negotiate its twists and turns at breakneck speed. There are occasionally large lorries servicing the port at Kinlochbervie.

    Stay with the road as far as Badcall. Here you'll find the London Stores, a Cape Wrath Trail institution. Almost everything imaginable is crammed into a tiny Aladdin's cave of a shop. It truly has to be seen to be believed. They may also hold postal re-supply packages for you if you phone and ask politely.

    From just before the London Stores at Badcall the route turns off the road and heads due north to the bothy at Strathan (NC 247 612). After the first couple of kilometres this is rough, trackless, leg sapping terrain, but beautiful in its own bleak way. There's something quite special about knowing so few humans pass this way.

    From Strathan the going doesn't get much easier as you strike out north west, following the edge of Sandwood loch to the majestic Sandwood Bay. There's no real path here and the small burns flowing into the loch will slow your progress. Camping at Sandwood Bay is a bit of a rite of passage, but if the weather is cold or awful, you could continue to Strathchailleach bothy (NC 249 657) - see next leg.

    Route alternatives

    The main route above has been suggested mainly from a purist's point of view because it avoids the obvious alternative which is to continue into Kinlochbervie on the road.

    Kinlochbervie is a year round fishing port so has more amenities than you'd expect this far north. There's a Post Office, shop, hotel and B&Bs which are all handy before your final push to the Cape.

    From Kinlochbervie, follow the road north via Oldshoremore to Blairmore. Houses are strung out here and there along the road, built end on to the coast - testament to the raw power of the elements. The road is very quiet so no hardship to walk along after all the rough country you've already crossed.

    From Blairmore, a clear track strikes out over the moors skirting four lochans before delivering you to an awe inspiring view of Sandwood Bay. If conditions are clear, you'll catch your first glimpse of the lighthouse at the cape (you won't see it again until you're almost there).

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Watercolour of Sourlies Bothy, Knoydart by Anthony Harper Return to website